In this article, I want to tell you about the two questions that have really gotten me thinking in recent weeks about what I believe is the key to happiness in business. So before I tell you about these questions, I want to lay the scene and tell you exactly what got me to this point where these questions are posed to me and then why it really got me thinking about happiness and business.
What got me thinking
For the last year or so, I’ve been really content and happy with my full-time work. It’s something in which it brings a great deal of satisfaction to me. My boss appreciates me. My team members are great to work with in world-class, within themselves. And it’s something in which I really believe in the mission of the company I work for.
But at the same time, I know for myself as an entrepreneur as well that I always like to be growing. And so it’s something in which, as I start to scale up my team at my job, I’m actively thinking about whether or not I’m truly happy with just that function of scaling out this team and doing more of the things that I already have kind of proven out over the last year and some change.
And so naturally that actually led me to reaching out to a business mentor in which I hopped onto a call and I told him about my situation in which I wanted to have a more active role in shaping the way that my role evolves with this organization. I wanted to make sure that it was still challenging to me and that I was still able to get that sort of deep satisfaction that I’ve had in my work over the last year and some change.
We can call him Yoda for the sake of the sort of vibe that he had. He was very zenful. He had a lot of pity statements to share as he was listening to my situation. And essentially, the way this happened was we hopped onto this Zoom call, and he asked me what was going on.
And from there, I told him all about my job. I told him about the sort of work I’ve been doing in the last year and some change. And I also told him about how I can anticipate that in the next six to 12 months, if I’m not actively growing, then I will start to be a little less fully content with my work.
The 2 key questions
And so once I had given Yoda the download on all the things that were going on at work for me, he asked me these two simple questions. The first question he asked me was, at the end of every day, do you feel like you were productive? And so in response to that, I told him, “Yeah, Yoda, absolutely”. On most days, I feel incredibly productive. It’s something which I get a lot of work done, and I can clearly see the fruits of my labor every few weeks or months and so on.
And then, the second question that he asked me was, at the end of every day, do you feel like you help somebody else? And that’s something in which I also said, “Yeah, absolutely”. It’s something in which on a daily basis, I’m given an opportunity to either help another team member, help somebody I’m directly managing, even help some virtual assistants that I might be working with, or even just helping our customers. So there are definitely different groups of people that I’ve been able to help out before.
So Yoda asked me, so what’s the issue or what’s the problem? And this really got me thinking because I’ve always been a super ambitious person who has always been chasing that next sort of thrill ride or outcome that I can work towards.
Here’s what I’ve realized
What I’ve realized through time is that as things start slowing down for me, in which I don’t have naturally as much energy as I may have had before, the answers to those two questions are pretty much at the core of what people like and appreciate about work in general. What I realized was that at the core of these two questions was the secret to happiness in business.
If you think about it, business is something in which on a daily basis, we’re looking to create value for other people. We’re looking to feel like we’re contributing to that value. That’s exactly what these two questions do so well. They really zero in on what are you doing in your business or what are you doing in working for a business and so on.
Why are these questions the key to happiness in business
And so I’m convinced at this point that these two questions are pretty much the key to being happy in business. If you were to just take a step back and think about the last five working days that you spent, and you weren’t able to answer that most days were productive, well then naturally what would happen?
What would happen is you would feel super frustrated. You would feel like the work that you’re doing is not leading to any key outcome that you can really measure. You’d feel unproductive. And there are really few greater unsettled feelings that a person can feel than to not feel like they were productive. It’s something in which you’ll just feel like you’re kind of laying on a couch, not really having done anything all day.
And then on that second question of whether or not you helped another person that’s really going at something even deeper than just business at a core level. It’s something where it’s really asking the question of, were you human today? Was it something in which, at the core of it, human beings like to help other people?
That’s why our species has evolved through all these different generations. And so if you’re not able to answer that question of whether or not you were helping another person, well, then what’s the point? Like why do we do business in that situation? Sure, some people might say that they’re doing it to make a lot of money or some people might be doing it for fame or status, but at the end of the day, actually achieving either of those outcomes, doesn’t really give any greater sense of personal satisfaction when you think about the sorts of people that you were able to impact.
If, for example, you just think about the inventor of ice cream. That’s an invention that has brought so much happiness to other people in the world, and that’s what’s probably most satisfying. And just a byproduct of that is the success and monetary outcomes that may have come from doing that.
What you can also do
And so, after having this conversation with Yoda, I started to really reflect and think about the different ways that I’ve done business through the years and what I want to value doing in the future as well. What do I want to be my identity as an entrepreneur, and how can I support other people? How can I help them feel more productive in their work?
Or how can I help them level up their own livelihood or outcomes through the businesses that I run. And I think that that’s a completely different mindset than maybe the way that I’ve built things in the past. And so I’m really excited to kind of explore this phase. And hopefully, from watching this video, you can also think to yourself these two questions and maybe ask yourself, what comes to mind for you? Are you able to say yes to both of these questions and if not, what can you do today to start to get closer to being able to say yes every single day?
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